I have this belief that with at least a certain amount of money you can do almost anything perfect because you just hire absolutely the perfect people for that thing. You also can hire as many as you like, because, as I just said, you have enough money just for that.
Let me cut to the chase now: why is Apple selling amazing, beautiful products and Samsung… well, Samsung has a lot of mediocre products? How come Apple has fanatics, a real cult and Samsung – at its best – only fans? Is it because Apple has more money? No, of course not. Has better engineers, designers or marketers? A better culture perhaps? I do believe both companies have the knowledge, wisdom and resources to recruit the best work force ever and to farm people to their very needs. I also do believe they both can build amazing organisational cultures.
But then, again, why the significant differences between their products?
I’m not saying that I have The Answer to this question, I’m just saying that my answer it’s a huge part of the equation: the dilution decision. As I see it, at Apple, one or two persons are holding the keys of their visionary product and everyone is following the same path after a big debate and research. There is no boss pinching and twisting the original vision just because (s)he wants to look good or justify the obscene salary in front of a bigger boss. Nothing like that. Is just discipline and big respect for the product.
On the other hand, I imagine at Samsung such a byzantine organisation where every little boss is playing politics to keep his chair and make the bigger boss looks good. Their products are soaked in politics and this means compromise. Sometimes unimaginable compromise. So the tiny boss might be an unbelievable product manager with the most creative vision about a product. When he meets his boss, he has to modify the product just because the boss’ wife didn’t feel the product is good enough. And the bigger boss of the boss will add another 2 stripes and one colour because – you got that right – he is convinced that the final product will work better this way. For that, he‘ll fill a report with some ghost focus group – everyone’s doing that, you know? And so forth.
Furthermore, in asian culture is almost impossible to challenge a higher status decision, no matter how stupid, dangerous or anarchic it is. Always status is overwriting the competence. This is actually so heavily embodied that if you read “The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert B. Cialdini you find that a plane is easy to crash just because the younger pilot din’t dare to overcome the authority of the most experienced pilot (of witch guilt the plane actually crashed).
So there: the dilution of the decision. You can say “focus” at some level. The focus at macro level is so god damn important that a company can become richer than a country.
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